Year: 2007

READ: Building a better engineer

Who said engineers don’t have heart? There’s a school cultivating the hearts of engineers. Have a look. By John Schwartz Published: September 29, 2007 in International Herald Tribune When nonengineers think about engineering, it’s usually because something has gone wrong: collapsing levees in New Orleans, the loss of the space shuttle Columbia, the Chernobyl and Bhopal disasters. In the follow-up investigations, it often comes out that some of the engineers involved knew something was wrong. But too few spoke up or pushed back – and those who did were ignored. This professional deficiency is something the new, tuition-free Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering wants to fix. At its tiny campus in Needham, Massachusetts, outside Boston, Olin is trying to design a new kind of engineer, the kind its founders and staff believe that industry, and the world, need now. The five-year-old school, which has received good notices from groups that rank U.S. colleges and universities, is being closely watched by companies that hire engineers to design the future. Its novel approach should be of …